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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 11
Iran ready to provide Georgia with enough gas volumes –Ambassador

As the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Georgia, Abbas Talebifar, has declared, Iran is ready to provide Georgia with gas for domestic usage as well as for transit purposes.

According to the Ambassador, Georgia should act according to its national interests and it is logical to search for alternative energetic sources, an action common to every other state.

‘Iran is ready to cooperate with Georgia in the energy field and provide it with enough gas volumes for domestic usage as well as for transit that will bring additional incomes for your country,’ – said the Ambassador.

According to him, preparatory works are currently underway at present, and several routes are being considered.

‘The Azerbaijani route is also being discussed. This country expresses readiness for providing Georgia with gas via its territory. Armenia also says it is prepared to offer assistance. The issue of electricity exchange is also being discussed – Iran will receive energy from Georgia when needed, and vice versa. This issue will be comprehensively discussed during Minister Kaladze’s visit to Iran,’ the Ambassador said. (IPN)

Should unmarked police cars be equipped with video cameras?

A proposal to put cameras in unmarked police cars and use video recordings to fine drivers for traffic violations has been met with suspicion in Georgia.

According to the bill, police will be entitled to install secret video cameras in unmarked patrol cars and secretly record traffic violations, which later will be used to fine drivers without the police ever being in contact with the driver.

Non-government organizations do not approve of the proposal, which was put forth by the Interior Ministry, and several political parties have said they will not support it, including the Republican Party, which is a member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition.

Spokespeople for the Georgian Dream government say there are mistakes in the draft bill, but it is not clear whether they will support it or not. Gia Volsky, the head of the Georgian Dream faction in Parliament, says he believes that there will be hard discussions about this part of the bill. He said that his party plans to gather next week and decide on a course of action.

The government has requested that the bill go through a fast-track procedure during Parliament’s fall session, but it is still hard to say whether Parliament will pass it or not, as the assembly has barely started discussing it.

Transparency International Georgia claims that the draft violates human rights guaranteed by the Constitution, offends rules for processing personal data and might lead to an abuse of power by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

TI Georgia explains that unmarked patrol cars will be able to collect information about the personal contacts of people, their movement, social attitudes etc, which is a violation of privacy.

Eka Gigauri, executive director of TI Georgia, explains that under today’s rules, it is necessary to get permission from a court before installing secret cameras, wiretapping and surveillance, otherwise you cannot collect information without informing the person under surveillance.

“We believe that [the bill] violates the Constitution, our legislation and a number of international laws,” she said.

Drivers might result in thinking that each car approaching them might be recording a video that could later be used to fine them.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili said the bill contains risks and he wants it to be discussed broadly and thoroughly.

Today, legislation requires photo and video equipment to be installed in a visible location. (DF watch)

292 cases of H1N1 medically confirmed in Georgia

According to the latest data, 292 cases of the so-called ‘swine flu’ (H1N1 virus) have been medically confirmed in Georgia.

As the National Disease Control Center reports, 302 flu cases have been revealed and 292 of them belong to the H1N1 type of virus. Of these, 10 of them are the H3N2 strain of the virus.

A total of 12 cases have ended in fatalities; 11 were caused by H1N1 and 1 by H3N2. (IPN)